IIED and partner events at COP25


This page summarises the activities of IIED, its researchers and partners during the UN climate change talks (COP25) in Madrid, Spain, from 2 to 13 December 2019. 

UN climate change conference (COP25)
A series of pages related to IIED's activities at the 2019 UNFCCC climate change summit in Spain (COP25)
Many flags

Climate negotiators from around the world will gather for COP25 in Madrid. By UNclimatechange via Flickr, CC BY 4.0

Climate negotiators gathered in Madrid in December for the 25th Conference of the Parties (COP25) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This page summarises IIED's activities during the two-week gathering. 

European Capacity Building Initiative training and support programme

Training workshop (invite only)

Date: Saturday, 30 November, 2019

The European Capacity Building Initiative (ecbi) aims to support international climate change negotiations by building and sustaining capacity among developing country negotiators.  

IIED leads ecbi’s training and support programme, which seeks to level the playing field by helping negotiators from vulnerable developing countries improve their knowledge of the UNFCCC decision-making process so they can engage in it effectively and translate its outcomes into national level implementation. 

IIED organised a pre-COP workshop to train junior negotiators who are relatively new to the UNFCCC process. The workshop combined presentations that give a broad overview of COP25 and the diplomatic landscape with brief looks at the priority issues of: loss and damage, market mechanisms and finance. There was also be a practical session aimed at building negotiators' capacity to negotiate.  

Related reading: Pocket guide to capacity building for climate changePocket Guide to NDCs Under the UNFCCC | Pocket guide to loss and damage under the UNFCCC | Pocket guide to gender equality under the UNFCCCPocket guide to transparency under the UNFCCC |  Pocket guide to the Paris Agreement

Building better dams: the past, present and future of hydropower

Pavilion event

Date: Wednesday, 4 December 2019
Venue: UK Pavilion
Hosted by: University of Cambridge

Over 3,700 large dams are planned or under construction worldwide to service growing demands for energy, irrigation, water supply and flood control. These investments can make an important contribution towards the Sustainable Development Goals. However, developing and financing dams in a sustainable manner remains a challenge, which the FutureDAMS project is addressing.

Related reading: How climate finance can help repurpose hydropower | Resettlement from large dams – what have we learned? | Who should carry the financial risks in large private sector financed hydropower projects?

UK-India Collaboration to Catalyse Low Carbon Leadership by Indian Businesses

Pavilion event

Date: Wednesday, 4 December 2019
Venue: UK Pavilion
Hosted by: British High Commission

This event presented results and learning from working with Indian business to stimulate investments and initiatives to boost renewables, electric mobility, and improve energy efficiency. It also explored how UK collaboration is helping to build the readiness of a range of businesses to scale up low-carbon solutions (including through knowledge, technology, finance) to contribute to India’s climate goals.

Speakers: Richard Abel, UK Climate Investments; Chirag Gajjar, WRI; Ritu Bharadwaj, IIED; Luca Lo Re, International Energy Agency; Menna Rawlings (moderator), UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (TBC)

Related reading: Building resilience to climate change through social protection: lessons from MGNREGS, India | Financing a climate-resilient MGNREGS

Leading the way: raising ambition for climate action

Date: Thursday, 5 December 2019
Venue: UK Pavilion
Hosted by: LDC Group, AOSIS

As a critical year for accelerated action this side event will focus on ambition. With COP25 representing the last international moment before countries are due to submit new and updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in line with 1.5°C pathways, this event presented examples of least developed countries and small island developing states showing leadership by taking action to raise ambition, despite contributing the least to the causes of climate change.

Further, event brought together LDCs and SIDS to discuss the implications of inaction, and how to build the momentum for collective action to end the climate crisis.

Related reading: Time to redress the globally unjust cost of climate change | Ensuring COP25 delivers increased ambition in 2020

The role of finance in supporting sustainable development in emerging markets – focus on hydropower

Pavilion event

Date: Thursday, 5 December 2019
Venue: EU Pavilion
Hosted by: University of Cambridge

Hydropower has a specific role to play in the broader context of sustainable development, particularly in improving electricity access sustainably. However, the financing options available for emerging economies affect the way that countries are able to use their natural resources for social and economic development. Sustainable finance models for hydropower enable countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in a way that is compatible with the Paris target.

The changes in hydropower finance over time have been influenced by reduced availability of public sector funds and the sustainable development imperative. Private sector investors are expected to play a key role in supporting sustainable development in emerging markets, but this remains challenging. This event brought together viewpoints from various parties to explore how the challenges associated with private finance for hydropower in emerging markets can be best addressed.

Related reading: How climate finance can help repurpose hydropower | Resettlement from large dams – what have we learned? | Who should carry the financial risks in large private sector financed hydropower projects?

Development and Climate Days (D&C Days)

Full-day event

Date: Sunday, 8 December 2019
Venue: Hilton Madrid Airport, Av de la Hispanidad, 2-4 Madrid, 28042

This year’s D&C Days looked ahead to 2020, when countries are due to report on how they will meet their commitments under the Paris Agreement. During the one-day event organised by partners including IIED, we explored the ambitious plans and transformational systems that are needed to deliver climate resilience for all.

We highlighted thinking from diverse sectors, ranging from food and agriculture, to finance, cities and infrastructure and biodiversity. All of these sectors are aware of the need for cross-cutting collaboration to ensure resilience.

Signing the partnership compact for the LDC 2050 vision 

Launch event

Date: Monday, 9 December 2019
Hosted by: The Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group

The LDC initiative for Adaptation and Resilience (LIFE-AR) has completed its initial two-year planning phase and is starting to be implemented.

Following the launch of the LDC 2050 Vision for a climate-resilient future at the UN Climate Action Summit 2019 in New York, countries were invited to sign the LIFE-AR partnership compact during COP25. 

The compact is a declaration of support to the principles for strengthened development cooperation between the LDCs and the international community to advance the vision. It was signed by front runners and the international community who are committing to support LDCs achieve their vision. 

Related reading: LDC 2050 Vision: towards a climate resilient future (PDF) | Delivering our climate-resilient future: lessons from a global evidence review (PDF) | Time to redress the globally unjust cost of climate change

Driving adaptation in mountains through community- and ecosystem-based innovations

Side event

Date: Tuesday, 10 December 2019
Venue: Room 2
Partner organisations: The Mountain Institute (TMI); The International Potato Center (CIP), Andean Initiative; IIED; Mountain Partnership (MP)

Mountain ecosystems are especially impacted by the climate crisis, undermining their natural resources, regulatory processes and the livelihoods of their peoples. Urgent action is needed that considers the ecosystem in its entirety – restores biodiversity, peatlands and water flows – and mobilises the key stakeholders around it for economic innovation. We need to place mountains at the centre of policies and interventions for climate action so that they can continue to provide global goods and solutions to the planet. 

Ecosystem-based approaches that help people adapt to climate change and simultaneously reduce poverty and protect or restore biodiversity and ecosystems are particularly promising in mountain regions. This event explored innovative and impactful approaches to both further implementation and enhance ambition, starting with four case studies of ecosystem-based adaptation and key challenges facing mountainous regions in adapting to the climate crisis, and a high-level panel including Rwanda Minister of Agriculture Geraldine Mukeshimanal; Peru Minister of Environment Fabiola Martha Muñoz Dodero; Christine Zundel, Federal Office for Agriculture of Switzerland (FOAG); Marc Pons, Andorra Innovation Hub; Ali Raza Rizvi (moderator) (IUCN).

Speakers: Jorge Recharte (TMI) and Alejandro Argumedo (Asociación Andes); Stef de Haan (CIP); Steve Vanek (CSU); David Ramirez (CIP); Steve Fonte (CSU); Enrique Flores (UNALM); Yuka Makino (FAO, Mountain Partnership Secretariat); Yiching Song (IIED), Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy (CCAP); Yuka Makino (moderator) (FAO, Mountain Partnership Secretariat)

Related reading: Nature-based solutions to climate change adaptation (i中文Español) | Is ecosystem-based adaptation effective? Perceptions and lessons learned from 13 project sites (中文Español) | Ecosystem-based adaptation: a handbook for EbA in mountain, dryland and coastal ecosystems

Community Resilience Partnership Program: scaling up investments in local adaptation

Side event

Date: Wednesday, 11 December 2019
Venue: Room 1
Hosted by: Asian Development Bank (ADB)

This side event discussed the newly established Community Resilience Partnership Program (CRPP) – an action-oriented partnership to support countries and communities in Asia and the Pacific – scale up investments in local resilience that aim at transformational changes.

Speakers: Woochung Um, Asian Development Bank; Hoesung Lee, chair of the IPCC; Arghya Sinha Roy, UNECLAC; Cambodia government representatives; Tonga government representatives; Clare Shakya, IIED; Cristina Rumbaitis del Rio (moderator), WRI.

The LDCs call for business unusual

Pavilion event

Date: Wednesday, 11 December 2019     
Venue: UK Pavilion
Hosted by: The LDC Group

The LDC Group has developed the LDC Initiative for Effective Adaptation and Resilience (LIFE-AR), which was officially launched at COP24, with the objective of outlining a vision towards a climate-resilient future by 2050. As part of this LDC 2050 Vision, the LDC Group has outlined the ambitious commitments that LDC governments are willing to make themselves to improve the way they are responding to climate change for the better. Frontrunner countries for this initiative are working hard to turn the vision into reality on the ground through LIFE-AR.

The LDC Group leadership and frontrunners shared their views on how they plan to make this initiative work at the national level; from developing national long-term strategies to identifying transformational delivery mechanisms to reach communities at scale.

Speakers: Sonam P. Wangdi, LDC Group chair.

Related reading: Calling for business unusual: reforming climate finance | Ensuring COP25 delivers increased ambition in 2020 | Time to redress the globally unjust cost of climate change | LDC 2050 Vision for a climate-resilient future

Engaging women and youth in community climate actions

Pavilion event

Date: Thursday, 12 December 2019
Venue: Indonesia Pavilion
Hosted by: Indonesian government

Yiching Song, from IIED partner organisation Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy (CCAP), presented experiences of working with women to champion nature-based solutions in China. CCAP has been working with women’s cooperatives in China to adapt to climate change using nature-based solutions. 

Related reading: EbA Tools Navigator | Is ecosystem-based adaptation effective? Perceptions and lessons learned from 13 project sites (中文Español)